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Effects of Aging on Your Memory

Updated on January 12, 2015

It happens to everyone at some point, you forget where you left the car keys, and you see someone and you cannot remember their name, or you forget to grab the milk on the way home. Although some of us may assume right off that we are just losing it and are experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, never fear, you are having what is considered a breakdown of your memory processes and you can experience them as early as your 20's. Scary huh? But don't worry every one of us goes through it to some extent.

This breakdown continues as we age, when you are young your brain is learning and it is "storing" what you learn. Although new brain cells are not made when we learn, the brains nerve cells are connecting and making new "paths." Everyone has what is called Acetylcholine which is a neurotransmitter that is essential to your memory and your learning. When you're younger the synapses in your brain becomes stronger and makes more connections but as you age the synapses slow down and the production of Acetylcholine drops.

The hippocampus has a crucial role in short term memory and its functions and unfortunately it is vulnerable to the aging process. The hippocampus may lose up to five percent of brain nerve cells every 10 years. It is assumed that most 80 year olds have lost about 20 percent of their brain nerve cells. When aging occurs the brain actually shrinks and makes it harder to work. Short and long term memory can also be affected by genetic makeup and environment.

If your parents seem to have a good memory you most likely will also. There are always the obvious signs of aging in the bodies' physical appearance but as will exercise your body, so should you exercise your brain. One of the more popular things to play these days are "brain" games, so while you're out at the gym or running in the park remember to "exercise" your brain to.


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    • JesadaB profile image

      JesadaB 6 years ago from Home!

      Thanks for sharing BobbiRant! I hope you have the anorexia under control now and I am not surprised by your memory loss and forgetfulness, your brain needs nutrition to function to! I know my problem with memory is related to the meds I take and it truly sucks when you cannot remember where you left your keys!

    • BobbiRant profile image

      BobbiRant 6 years ago from New York

      When I was suffering from anorexia, This stuff,forgetfulness and such happened when I was25.